Scott Willis

Host, Reporter, Producer

I’ve always been enamored with the intimacy of radio.  It’s so personal.  It forces you to listen…and listen only.  No visual distractions.  I grew up listening to mostly top 40 radio in Detroit, with no shortage of entertaining DJ’s.  As a teenager, I discovered the area’s all news station.  I loved knowing what was going on, and the intensity with which they told stories.  I often wondered what it would be like to be the first to know what was happening, and then tell others.  Maybe that’s why I pursued a career in news. 

I would go on to serve as an intern at that all-news station, and it was amazing and maybe a little overwhelming to see what it took to put out a constant stream of news.  But something was missing.  It wasn’t until after I graduated from college that I actually discovered Detroit’s public radio station at my alma mater.  What a difference!  You had time to write and tell engaging, meaningful stories, to be creative, all without the pressure to constantly crank out the news.  Quality over quantity.  That’s when I knew public radio was for me.  I was hooked.

I would hone my skills on and off for almost three years at WDET as an intern under the tutelage of a patient Assistant News Director. I produced daily stories for newscasts, but also was given the privilege of producing long-form features on topics that interested me, and that people knew very little about.  Now THAT was cool.  Right up my alley.  What budding reporter could ask for more?

I landed here in Syracuse in June 2001.  Today, I’ve come full circle, and now teach the craft to more than a dozen student reporters per week.  We work hard to choose informative stories, find the most engaging sound, and edit copy for clarity and accuracy. 

Outside of work, I spend time with my wife and little boy.  We like to take walks, travel, and read.  When I can, I’ll hop on my bike for a quick ride.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the honor and privilege of bringing WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners the news of the day during All Things Considered.  Thanks for listening.

Ways to Connect

Karen DeWitt / WXXI News

Advocates for the Forever Wild forest preserves in the Adirondacks and Catskills, are trying to spread the word about two ballot propositions in the November elections. They are for one of the proposals, but against another.

We walk up the trail to the summit of Hadley Mountain  in the southern Adirondacks, fallen leaves crunching underfoot.

The wind picks up a bit as we climb up the fire tower for the panoramic view.

Jon Shames / WAER News

Chants for freedom reverberated through the streets of downtown Syracuse Thursday as dozens of activists gathered to urge Congressmember John Katko to co-sponsor what they call a "Clean Dream Act." It’s part of a coordinated nationwide Dream Act Week of Action while Congress is in recess.  Gustavo Andrade is director of leadership development with United We Dream. 

Eric Schneiderman's flickr page

The fall out continues from President Trump’s decision to end subsidies to health insurance companies  to help lower income Americans pay for their health insurance. But it’s still unclear what the exact impact will be in New York.

As soon as the President followed through with his threat to end the subsidies, New York and several other states filed a lawsuit to try to get the money back. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says it will sow dysfunction in the state’s and the nation’s health care system.

news.syr.edu

Orange and blue are the colors you normally see on the Syracuse University campus.  But Thursday and for the rest of the month, purple will also be seen both on campus and around Central New York to raise awareness about domestic violence. While the effort ramps up in October, director of the office of health promotion at SU Katelyn Cowen says information and support resources are available year-round.

Scott Willis / WAER News

New Yorkers have the power on November 7th to decide whether some state officials convicted of a felony should be stripped of their pensions. But the proposal would not apply to two former legislative leaders and several former associates of Governor Cuomo accused of corruption.

The ballot proposition before voters on Election Day would  allow a judge to determine whether a state official convicted of crimes like bribery or bid rigging, should lose all or part of their pension.

eplscorecard.org

The environmental records of Central New York’s senators and assemblymembers are getting mixed reviews in an analysis of their votes during the last legislative session.  The group environmental advocates has released legislators’ scorecards, and Executive Director Peter Iwanowicz says they come with a different backdrop.

Allegra Craver / WAER News

The four democrats in the Onondaga County Legislature and the others challenging republican incumbents have a plan they say will make lawmakers more responsive and accountable to residents.  They unveiled their “Plan of the People, for the People” Monday, which includes proposals ranging from term limits to enacting a living wage for county employees and contractors.  Democratic Floor Leader Linda Ervin acknowledges that their first challenge starts with voters knowing who they are.

Michael Mulford / WAER News

It might be Columbus Day on the calendar, but students and staff at Syracuse University spent Monday celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day.  The events were led by Regina Jones, Assistant Director in SU’s Office of Multicultural Affairs.  Jones is a Native American who has lived in the area her entire life, and says she wants to spread awareness of the University’s day of celebration, which it adopted last year.

Scott Willis / WAER News

The City of Syracuse joined more than 60 countries today in recognizing World Cerebral Palsy Day during a ceremony on the steps of city hall.  CP advocate Cora True-Frost’s eight year-old son is one of the 17-million people worldwide living with the condition that affects body movement, muscle coordination, and communication.  True-Frost says World Cerebral Palsy Day gives people with CP the opportunity to be seen and heard. 

Scott Willis / WAER News

The Marriott Syracuse Downtown has been open a little over a year, and it’s already earned one of the most meaningful awards in the industry.  It was recently recognized as the Best City Center Historic Hotel in the nation by historic Hotels of America.

“When we were putting this old girl back together there was never a thought that this would be an award or an honor that this hotel would have any time soon, so it really is a great surprise.”

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